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Old 26-03-2016, 05:33   #1
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V-drive Versus Stern Drive

I am looking to buy a 30' or so used cruiser that I plan to leave in the water over winter. The marina does not freeze over. I do plan to use the boat during winter. Others in the marina have done the same. I understand the other parts of the boat, besides the engine, will have to be winterized.

I hear that for leaving the boat in the water, year round, a V-drive is preferred since it does not have as much exposed to the water as compared to a stern drive. Maintenance is also less on a V-drive ?

Your opinions will be much appreciated.
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Old 26-03-2016, 05:42   #2
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wolfgang.

Your analysis is, more or less, correct.

“... If you're planning to run primarily in fresh water and need to make good time getting to your lakefront home or favorite faraway fishing spot, or if you boat in salt water and have a lift, go with the stern drive.
If your boat is going to remain in metal-eating brine and you want to have hassle-free recreation, the V-drive is likely the better choice ...”
http://www.boatingmag.com/boats/to-v-or-not-to-v
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Old 26-03-2016, 06:14   #3
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

Yep. Assuming salt water. Might be a wash, in fresh water.


Serious maintenance on a V-drive can sometimes be the more difficult, mostly due to access issues.


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Old 26-03-2016, 07:43   #4
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

I have a v-drive in my sailboat and sterndrive on my ski boat.

The v-drive access is a huge pain and tightening the packing glands a real exercise in stretching and bending at odd angles while applying a heavy force. Otherwise it's a fairly simple, reliable system, comparable to a straight shaft.

The stern drive lives on a trailer and is used 80% in fresh water. Certainly faster and more efficient than a v-drive and the tilt/trim control is very nice. Long term living in salt water could be an issue as it's a mix of stainless, mild steel and aluminum. However, my son-in-law has a stern drive that he has kept in salt water for years (though he does haul it in the winter) and had no problems.
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Old 26-03-2016, 08:14   #5
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

You haven't mentioned what I think is the best option. The straight inboard drive. Many boats have it and it is the easiest to maintain due to access to the stuffing box.
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Old 26-03-2016, 10:23   #6
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfgang6 View Post
I am looking to buy a 30' or so used cruiser that I plan to leave in the water over winter. The marina does not freeze over. I do plan to use the boat during winter. Others in the marina have done the same. I understand the other parts of the boat, besides the engine, will have to be winterized.

I hear that for leaving the boat in the water, year round, a V-drive is preferred since it does not have as much exposed to the water as compared to a stern drive. Maintenance is also less on a V-drive ?

Your opinions will be much appreciated.
JHMO, you would be far ahead with a V-drive. A stern drive is good for a trailer boat.
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Old 26-03-2016, 10:25   #7
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

Stern drives are not designed to be left constantly in the water, and the output shaft seal can easily be compromised by a piece of fishing line. That being said, they do make a pressurized lower unit oil system that can be added if you want to try to keep your Stern drive in the water for long periods of time.
V drives, like inboards, are designed to be kept in the water for long periods, while all maintenance can be completed from the engine room.
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Old 26-03-2016, 10:34   #8
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

For those saying sterndrives aren't suitable for keeping in the water, that might be news to the owners of the hundreds of sterndrives I've seen full time in the water in Florida marinas for the forty years I've been boating here.

Also as I mentioned, to my son-in-law who has a 25' Grady with a sterndrive that has lived in salt water at least six months every year since it was built (mid nineties if I recall). He had to have the stern drive repaired after he hit a log last year and it even came apart with no major issues with the SS bolts and screws in the aluminum bits. He is very religious about keeping new anodes on the lower unit.
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Old 26-03-2016, 10:55   #9
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

I have seen hundreds of stern drives fail each year because they are kept continuously submerged in water, no matter fresh or salt water. The fluid level in the drive is well below the water line. Seals should be replaced yearly. A simple piece of fishing line can cause water infiltration which quickly destroys the bearings and bushings. The output seal is the weak link to the chain. That being said, there is a pressurized lower unit oil tank that can be added to the inside of the boat to help keep the water out.
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Old 26-03-2016, 11:10   #10
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

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Originally Posted by MAJICDAN View Post
I have seen hundreds of stern drives fail each year because they are kept continuously submerged in water, no matter fresh or salt water. The fluid level in the drive is well below the water line. Seals should be replaced yearly. A simple piece of fishing line can cause water infiltration which quickly destroys the bearings and bushings. The output seal is the weak link to the chain. That being said, there is a pressurized lower unit oil tank that can be added to the inside of the boat to help keep the water out.
Not bad for a recreational trailer boater that checks the foot oil isn't milky on a regular basis. Anyone that said leaving one in the water never had one.
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Old 26-03-2016, 11:36   #11
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

All good points above. There is one other advantage of a stern drive, - it is more maneuverable. But I still wouldn't own one if kept in salt water.

In summary...

Stern drive advantages: Most efficient, Best maneuverability
disadvantages: Highest maintenance, shortest lifespan

Vee Drive advantages: Lower maintenance, Compact (in length)
disadvantages: Difficult access to bilge & stuffing box, Less maneuverability

Shaft Drive advantages: Lowest maintenance, simple, longest lifespan
disadvantages: Less maneuverability
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Old 26-03-2016, 11:44   #12
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

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Originally Posted by Kokanee View Post
All good points above. There is one other advantage of a stern drive, - it is more maneuverable. But I still wouldn't own one if kept in salt water.

In summary...

Stern drive advantages: Most efficient, Best maneuverability
disadvantages: Highest maintenance, shortest lifespan

Vee Drive advantages: Lower maintenance, Compact (in length)
disadvantages: Difficult access to bilge & stuffing box, Less maneuverability

Shaft Drive advantages: Lowest maintenance, simple, longest lifespan
disadvantages: Less maneuverability
Have owned all and would agree. My Sanger V210 Black Scorpion is a Vee Drive which allows more room than center mounted shaft drive. No extra mx issues so far.
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:23   #13
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

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Originally Posted by MAJICDAN View Post
I have seen hundreds of stern drives fail each year because they are kept continuously submerged in water, no matter fresh or salt water.
Really? Hundreds? Every year? You must be the busiest marine mechanic in Florida or you know an awful lot of power boaters.
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:57   #14
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

An inboard shaft drive is far better than a stern drive/ less maintenance in salt water. It doesn't matter if its a V drive or conventional.
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Old 26-03-2016, 14:08   #15
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Re: V-drive Versus Stern Drive

Salt water, kept in a slip, go inboard (v-drive is a subcategory). Even in fresh water, You see them rot away when left in the water long term. Go down and look at a marina some time and tell me they aren't taking major damage from sitting in the water.

Also, don't forget outboards as an option. Tilt them out of the water and they are better than inboard for corrosion resistance. The newer models go up to some fairly hefty HP ranges.

Maneuverability: On a single engine boat, the stern drive will be better. On a twin engine boat I would give the edge to he inboard though not by a large margin.
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